The film has a strong sense of DIY throughout, which works both to its asset and disadvantage.
One Rogue Reporter, directed by former tabloid journalist Rich Peppiatt and his accomplice for the film Tom Jenkinson, is a documentary with many facets, whether it is when looking at its direction, style or processes of creation. The film has a strong sense of DIY throughout, which works both to its asset and disadvantage, offering a piece of work that is funny and audacious at times but whose main argument takes a while to come through.
The film, which used to be a stage show at Edinburgh’s Fringe, originated from Peppiatt’s experience in tabloids. Now retired from that part of the industry, Peppiatt denounces the lack of sources, or integrity for that matters, from pretty much everyone involved, him included. In its short 60 minutes, the documentary denounces that part of the industry where sells are more essentials than conscientious journalism, whilst playing pranks on some of the men responsible for it.
The structure of the film itself is somehow messy, the references are numerous but their editing fails to tied them all together. Archives of journalism films are mixed with conference shots and fragments of Peppiatt’s original Fringe show. Mainly relying on cut editing, it might have been worth looking into more cinematographic devices to convey the main argument of the film, which unfortunately gets lost for most of the documentary under the lack of clearer editing style.
The film is divided in four parts, each following a person working in the industry. The first one is Peppiatt himself who, instead of taking the easy way out and keeping silent on own work in the tabloid industry, shouts out some of his most horrible titles – from islamophobia to tasteless transvestite dressing up, we get to see the worst of Peppiatt’s work. This part of the film results in creating three fictitious characters embodying Peppiatt’s early career in journalism. Whilst maybe underused during the film, these personas enable a funny closing sequence for the documentary.
Overall, One Rogue Reporter offers a good start for Peppiatt and Jenkinson’s career as directors in terms of content. The lack of clear aesthetic choice and the narrative structure of the documentary itself would need tidying, however, its biting nature offers some truly hilarious moments. Most of the prank truly work, and the interviewee involved, from Hugh Grant to Steve Coogan, offer interesting insight into their own experience with tabloids.
One Rogue Reporter (2014), directed by Rich Peppiatt and Tom Jenkinson, is distributed in the UK by FilmBuff, Certificate 18.
Article published in association with The National Student.